Capital Pride this year was a double whammy for Richard Legg, who performs as Destiny B. Childs. He was named a Capital Pride hero — an honor given to only a handful of community leaders each year — and also won the Miss Capital Pride title in his first year competing in the event.
“It was an honor above anything else,” the 32-year-old Pensacola, Fla., native says. “Especially the hero. It wasn’t something I ever tried to get. I just did what I did and was who I am and by doing that, the Capital Pride Alliance honored me. When I got the e-mail, I cried.”
Legg joined the Army just before he finished high school as a jab at his father, with whom he was angry after a nasty divorce with his mom. It had the opposite effect and Legg spent eight years working mostly as a medical supply specialist at Walter Reed. He soon met another gay soldier who introduced him to Dupont Circle, Remington’s and more and soon he was at Tracks every Saturday night. Were there many gays in the Army?
“Surprisingly yes,” Legg says. “As soon as I didn’t keep quiet anymore, they started coming out of the woodwork. I didn’t really make a big announcement, but I just said, ‘These are the clubs where I go. They’re really fun. You should come.’”
Legg’s had a full-time government job since 2004, just a year after he first did drag. He’d been Mr. Remington’s that year but there was a “turnabout” night and the guy performers and the drag queens flip-flopped. He was so convincing in drag and enjoyed it, that his drag mother, Ophelia Bottoms (Charles McWilliams), encouraged him to stick with it. He did and now performs every Sunday night at Freddie’s and most weekends at Ziegfeld’s and at the Academy. Legg guesses he has about 300 dresses and 50 wigs. “It’s one thing if you just want to do a number every once in awhile, but if you really want to perform regularly and compete for titles, you have to put money into it.”
He met his husband, Rudy Benavides, 10 years ago at Dave and Buster’s. They had a commitment ceremony in 2003 but are getting legally married this year. They live together on North Capitol Street and enjoy the local gay leather community and hanging out with their drag pals when they have down time.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I have been out since I was 20 and my mother was the hardest person to tell. She did not take it well and we did not talk for two years. But she has accepted me and my life and we are very close again.
Who’s your gay hero?
Carl Rizzi (Mame Dennis). Carl has been through a lot in his lifetime and he always fought for what he believes in and it shows. He’s successfully run the Academy for more than 45 years!
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
Freddies Beach Bar, Ziegfeld’s, Motley Bar
What’s your dream gay wedding?
To marry the love of my life!
What non-gay issue are you most passionate about?
Education! I feel that everyone should be given an opportunity to be able to continue his or her education beyond high school. There are tons of people out there who really cannot afford college but want to go. I wish there was an easy way to allow them to go.
What historical outcome would you change?
Honestly, nothing. Everything that has happened in the past is what has gotten us to where we are today and made us who we are today as a nation. Changing anything could alter society in a way we might not be happy with.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
Cher’s final 10 tours.
On what do you insist?
I insist on everybody following their dreams and believing in themselves.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
LOL … I am at work and exhausted!!!
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“Lipstick and Paint, Makes a Man What He Ain’t: The life of a Drag Queen”
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
Nothing really, except be happy for those could take advantage of this discovery and be able to live their life the way they feel.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In him all things are possible. He watches over us everyday, although he tests us from time to time. He loves us all equally.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
Don’t stop fighting! We will always stand behind you!
What would you walk across hot coals for?
My family. Both blood family and drag/gay family.
What gay stereotype annoys you most?
Simply the fact that gay people are different and wrong. We are the same as anyone else and we love and hurt like everyone else.
What’s your favorite gay movie?
What’s the most overrated social custom?
Phone calls. People are very busy and I get so annoyed when you run into someone you haven’t talked to in a long time and they say, “You never call!” Well first of all, the phone works both ways. Secondly, people are busy and sometimes don’t think about a call or even have the time to have a conversation! E-mail and text messages work wonders!
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
My husband and kids, both my stepdaughter and my drag kids! Without them I would be lost. I love and cherish all my kids and thank God everyday for them in my lives. If I had to choose one award or title, it would be “Mother of the Year.”
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
Everything I know now!
I was stationed here at Walter Reed back in 1996 while I was in the U.S. Army and I fell in love with the city. I vowed I would never leave and I am not going anywhere.